The result is a string of pieced units that stay connected until the threads between them are snipped. The short video below shows how it’s done. You can learn more about chain piecing here.
While chain piecing is often used for sewing block units together, especially for quilts that contain many of the same pairs, quilters often don’t realize that it can also be used to sew together entire blocks.
Chain piece each pair of units that make up a row or column of a block. Leave the strips of units connected (don’t cut the threads), press the seams and then sew the rows or columns together. It looks something like the photo below once the rows are sewn together.
Press and then sew the remaining seams together to finish the block. Click here to see the full tutorial for the block’s construction (from the “Prairie Rose Garden” quilt by Sarah Zimmerman).
Go one step further and use chain piecing to sew finished blocks together to complete a quilt top. Chain piecing blocks will save a lot of time and keep you organized.
Suzy from Suzy Quilts has put together a good tutorial about chain piecing blocks. Watch the process in the following video.
Suzy also has written a tutorial about the process. Be sure to look through the comments below the tutorial for helpful tips.
A second tutorial, from Linda at Flourishing Palms also does an excellent job of walking you through the steps. She refers to it as sewing a web. Notice her method for keeping blocks, rows and columns organized, and for pressing. The quilt top looks like the photo above once the rows are sewn together.
The quilts shown here have simple blocks, similar to smaller units found in many quilt blocks. Even so, you can use the chain piecing method for putting a top together from more complex blocks. Once the blocks are completed, arrange them on the design wall or otherwise organize them before taking them to the machine to chain piece together.